The Lesbian Health Guide, a review (mostly)

Title (as given to the record by the creator):  The Lesbian Health Guide, a review (mostly)
Date(s) of creation: June 1995
Creator / author / publisher: M.G. Cimino, Sondra Solo, Fat Girl
Physical description:
Half a zine page with text in black and white.
Reference #:  FG3-009-Review
Links: [ PDF ]

The Lesbian Health Guide, a review (mostly)

by M.G. Cimino and Sondra Solo

“Food is love!!!” Did you know that? I didn’t either until I made the mistake of perusing the ‘self help’ guides at the local Barnes and Noble. A quick, unofficial study of the psychiatry and addiction/recovery sec­tion informed me that right after ‘co-dependency,’ love-starved fat peo­ple were the hot topic. One book blamed my mother, another my father, while one was simply entitled “Daily Affirmations for the Compulsive Overeater.” Two of the selections came with self-help ‘workbooks.’ How will you achieve recovery with the help of these workbooks? Can we all say, “Weigh and measure your food”? So, be warned, the attack on fat people has again cloaked itself yet another disguise. 

Because of this specter of dieting, which turns up far too often, it is with great trepidation that I approach any health guide or medical advice. Too often, any helpful messages I might receive are lost in the blare of “Lose weight!!” 

Well, thank the Goddess for the Lesbian Health Guide, edited by Regan McClure and Anne Vespry. Published by the Queer Press in Canada, this book begins with “Body Image and Eating Disorders” as its first section. The section opens with a Fat Oppression Roundtable. Under the body issues section the problems are listed as: Anorexia, Bulimia, Weight Preoccupation/Yo-Yo Dieting, and Compulsive Eating. The chapter discusses each briefly, and then gives suggestions for the lesbian interested in improving her body image. For example, “Weight preoccupation includes anything from a desire to be thinner, to counting calories, or continually trying to lose weight.” It is the first health guide I’ve seen mention that fat women are oppressed and receive poor med­ical care because so much attention is placed on their appearance. The section is excellent and contains one of the best discussions of body image, society’s influence, and what you can do about it, that I’ve seen in a health book. 

The book continues, discussing problems that affect all of us includ­ing stress, menstruation, child rearing, menopause, drug addiction, sex­ually transmitted diseases, lesbian abuse, and living in poverty. Unfortunately, most of the hospital/medical care advice is applicable to Canadians who work and live under a different health care system. 

If anyone is interested in getting a copy ask your local bookstore. If need be, they can order you a copy from Bookpeople Wholesalers in Oakland. They can have it for you the next day. The price should be about $15. 

Whether you buy the Lesbian Health Guide or not, take 5 minutes to participate in some fat activism: Step 1) go to your local mondo-chain bookstore. 2) Proceed immediately to the ‘Self-Help’ section and fill your arms with an assortment of ‘Food is Love’ titles, which you can then helpfully disperse around the store, placing them carefully back­wards, behind other books and in other convenient locations. 3) With all the extra room on the shelf, turn other titles, such as Addiction to Dieting, Shadow on a Tightrope, and Fat Women Speak, so that their covers face the consumer. 4) As you depart the store, pat yourself on the back for making the fat-phobic world a better place.